Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Friday, January 01, 2010


When I was trying to remember the first half of the year I realized something. I write this blog, which is very long, and I rarely look back. I look back if I want to link to something specific, or sometimes if I'm trying to remember when something happened, or how something was sequenced, but I don't usually really use it to look back. Which is funny, because I would tell you that I use it as a way to have memories. I know that whenever I'm sick I block it out or don't process life well enough to remember much. Which is also just a defense because I don't need to remember some thing, as Dr. Mind would rapidly interject here. And in a weird way I've gotten to the point that I don't worry about remembering some of it. I let that be his job. Which shows how far we've come in the last almost 4 years.

But do you look back? I'm curious, because I always think that this is a way of having a record of my life, but I really don't use it that way.


Diane said...

I look back too--but also tend to dwell on the past, which has proven to be a really bad tactic, since I'm a recovering grudge-holder with ADD. One thing that's helped me this year is mindfulness meditation. It keeps the focus on the moment and worry to a minimum, and kindof nullifies the old triggers for abandonment, rejection, embarrassment, and loneliness that I still sometimes encounter. The old movies don't play as readily in my head, I can separate myself from people's negativity and chose my response, so life is easier. I feel stronger and more independent. Thanks for letting me share this. Love your blog and wish you the best for 2010!

Michal Ann said...

JustMe, thanks for the topic and asking for dialogue.

Diane, I really love your comment. You've given me a lot to think about. Can you tell me more about being a "recovering grudge-holder with ADD?" How does the ADD affect the grudge-holding (or not)?

How do you practice "mindfulness meditation?" I love the effect of this practice "kind of nullifies the old triggers..The old movies don't play as readily in my head, I can separate myself from people's negativity and chose my response, so life is easier. I feel stronger and more independent."

JustME, I've noticed that I often write/journal my conflicts. Two different people recently volunteered that they do the same, this is, write much more about the negative things than the positive. One woman decided to take the opposite approach with her "issues" about her husband and to keep a journal of positive observations that would become a gift to him at Christmas. She's been doing this for months knowing that his strongest "love language" is words and thus affirmations would be especially meaningful and powerful. Isn't that wise? It's always wonderful to change focus to "catching people doing something right." I know I need to do that for myself rather than the running internal dialogue of self-criticism and worry.

I write notes when I'm in a serious phone conversation, hearing a sermon or lecture, etc. I rarely re-read the notes but there's something about hearing/seeing/writing that may help me focus on the subject at the time. I tend toward being a pack-rat who doesn't always trust my memory so I hoard the written word, too. Like you, I seldom go back and re-read the journals but it's there as an adjunct to memory and also as verification of what I experienced. That may or may not be a good thing.

I once met an old lady shopping for supplements. She asked my opinion on a product that was supposed to enhance memory. I heard myself say "Well, I guess it depends upon if they're good memories." Seriously, when we dwell on the past, we make that a "well-worn path" and it becomes an easily accessed part of our long term memory. You probably know that elderly folks can often recall the distant past while having a very limited short-term memory. If we don't understand that phenomenon, it might seem odd that someone can remember the first day of kindergarten but fail to recall what they just ate for breakfast.

Further, the brain apparently doesn't distinguish what is real from what is vividly imagined. Thus, when we recall our grudges (etc.) in living color, reliving them over and over again, it's as if the negative event is happening to us repeatedly.

"And then she said....and then she did...and I was SO HURT and SO MAD and it was so wrong! And then I told my mom about it and she agreed that it was HORRIBLE and we talked about if for an hour and then I called my best friend and she agreed and told me all about her bad experiences, too."

Well, you got me thinking, obviously.

Dr. Mind is very wise to say you don't NEED to remember certain things. It's great that he can have the "institutional memory" and keep track of the things that really need to be recalled. It's probably like panning for gold. The pan is swished into the water and filled with gravel and dirt. After swirling and pouring out the dirty water, a nugget might be revealed and the rest can be washed away in the current. And the river just keeps on flowing by, century after century...

I try to keep scriptures in my mind also (and on memory cards here and there) so that I have something very positive to dwell on.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee." Isaiah 26:3